Legende oder Sage? Der Fall Mäander

in Iran and the Caucasus
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Abstract

This paper focuses on two modern Turkish folktales being recounted in Afyonkarahisar (Western Anatolia). Both tales appear to have their roots in ancient Greek mythology, in which Meander is the main character. The story line is that Meander vows to the mother Goddess Cybele to sacrifice the first person coming to greet him, if she would grant him the victory in a decisive battle. The first person coming up to him after the battle turns out to be a close family member. He becomes mad with grief and kills himself by drowning in a nearby river, which is subsequently renamed in his honour. The tales bear a striking similarity to the biblical story of Jephthah (Book of Judges), which will be discussed in detail here together with other pecularities. Finally, this paper will also touch on the matter of classifying folktales: how should such stories be considered according to the definitions set by modern narratological theories, mere 'legends' (as implied by the Turkish term efsane) or rather 'myths'?

Legende oder Sage? Der Fall Mäander

in Iran and the Caucasus

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